And how do you account for Blaine Stoughton scoring more in the NHL than the WHA? I really don't think the WHA was that much weaker than the NHL. Some of the better WHA teams were better than many NHL teams and did better in the pre-season inter=League games. They also had better records than NHL teams in club matches against European teams.
The Wheelchair Line.
Don't know if they were a line, but that WHOEVER - Keon - Hull thing is likely the oldest line possibility possible.
So one or two players don't fit the mold or adapted to a style better?
In any case, I grew up watching both leagues. There is no way in hell anyone will convince me the WHA had anywhere near the talent of the NHL. I watched. I was there.
The WHA made several players look like Bobby Orr, but were in reality just journeymen
I was there too & went to a lot of Toros games. Didn't see anybody in either league that looked like Orr except for Bobby Orr. The NHL was pretty weak in those days also & a lot of NHL players looked a lot better than they really were.
its also a bizarre rogue league. there are already 4 other junior leagues in BC; this one is outside of Hockey Canada, and if you play in it, you are automatically suspended from playing in most other junior leagues in Canada.
there may be good reasons for not wanting to participate in the national structure, but I suspect its largely about money, personalities and power. very little has to do with hockey on the ice.
Not true. This is complete ******** invented to scare kids away from this league. The talent level is similiar to Junior A (BCHL,AJHL), but kids are scared by terror campaigns like this one to prevent some players from playing in it.
Cloutier also scored 42g/89p in 67gm and 37g/97p in 67gm in the NHL so whats your point? Fact is he had injury problems in the NHL and was never able to play a full season in the NHL.
Hedberg had a respectable 4 30+g and 1 25g season in the NHL. He did put up better numbers in the WHA and his goals per game was much better than his linemate Bobby Hull who happened to dominate in both leagues!
OK, Cloutier had better seasons than I remembered, but was still better in the WHA. Same goes for Hedberg. They weren't bad NHLers, but certainly not the studs they were in the WHA.
Can't the same be said for everyone, then? In that case, how do you compare the leagues at all?
You really can't. With the Jets Hedberg played with Hull & Nilsson in a run & gun system. I saw them play & that line was incredible to watch. he goes to NY & plays for shero in a defensive system & still excels. Hedberg was a helluva player. and very adaptable
With the expansion of the NHL & the creation of the WHA, bottom end talent was very diluted in both leagues. Winnipeg was ahead of the curve bringibg in guys like Nilsson, heberg, Sjoberg etc. The toros brought in Nedemansky. The NHL carried on with the same crap.
Cloutier,Ftorek,Danny Lawson put up big numbers in the WHA. It was a wide-open style of play that lead, obviously, to players putting up big numbers. Hell, even guys who played in the AHL or old WHL had better numbers in the WHA than they did in the minors. Larry Lund, Frank Hughes, and Andre Hinse are one example. They comprised the Go-Go Line with Phx of the WHL before going to the Houston Aeros, where for three seasons they were one of the WHA's top lines. I recall Gordie Howe and Houston coach Bill Dineen stating that these three were a prime example of talented players who for whatever reason didn't get a shot in the NHL.
There's no question the NHL was superior, but the WHA had a lot talent as well. Remember, during this time the NHL had teams like Was, KC/Col, Minn, Cal/Clev, Det
that were horrible.
I watched a lot of Roadrunner games back then and they were very entertaining. I remember watching a game in Phx in which Phx beat Cincy 9-4. Ftorek had a hat-trick, goalie Gary Kurt had three assists, Ron Huston scored on a penalty shot, and
Phx outshot Cincy 52-41. That pretty much was a typical WHA game. Great memories.
Self serving NHL propaganda tended to be dismissive of WHA hockey as bush league and second rate. For a good number of pro hockey veterans the WHA offered the first pay raise they ever got from the GM.
People can watch some of video footage of old WHA games and see that the hockey was wild, spontaneous, crazy and marketable. Despite its best efforts the WHA could never crack the NHL oligipoly.
The WHA has something for every hockey fan, the marquee stars, the hard working grinders who never got above the AHL level in the old NHL, the future stars - young kids looking for a chance and tough guys who fought for their next meal.
No one should forget that Gordie Howe ended his career as a WHA player or that Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky got their feet wet playing WHA hockey.
My first 3 professional hockey games seen live were WHA games in Winnipeg in the mid-70's. Very entertaining games, and some great skilled players. Also some not-so-good players who should have been in the AHL. But it gave certain players who didn't get a chance in the NHL a chance to be a star, and many of them responded (Cloutier, Tardif, "Shaky" Walton, Ftorik), or teams imported Europeans who were much better players than the Canadians who were stocking the NHL and AHL in those days (Hedberg, Nilsson, Sjoberg), but would not have gotten a chance in the NHL at the time.
Sure, some of the WHA's games looked like "Slap Shot", but so did some of the NHL's games (see: Flyers of 1973-1977). And a lot of very good NHL players came out of the WHA (Linesman, Gartner, Messier, Gretzky, Hedberg, Michel Goulet, Mark Howe, etc.), so it couldn't have been all THAT bed!
Lets not forget. Without Bobby Hull, there was no WHA, To kill that league, all they had to do was pay Hull a decent salary but wirtz was too cheap.Jack Kent Cooke would have but Wirtz wouldn;t make the deal,